Eczema Scars: Causes, Types & Treatment Options

by Ella

Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic skin condition characterized by inflammation, itching, and redness. While eczema itself can be challenging to manage, the scars it leaves behind can also pose a significant concern for those affected. Eczema scars, also referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or post-inflammatory erythema, can persist long after the initial flare-up has resolved. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes of eczema scars, the different types of scars, and the various treatment options available to help you effectively manage and reduce their appearance.


Eczema Scars

Eczema scars develop as a result of the body’s inflammatory response to the eczema flare-up. When the skin becomes inflamed and irritated, it can lead to changes in pigmentation and texture, resulting in the formation of scars. Factors such as scratching, picking, and repeated flare-ups can exacerbate scarring and prolong the healing process.


Types of Eczema Scars

Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation refers to darkening of the skin caused by an overproduction of melanin. In the context of eczema scars, hyperpigmentation often manifests as dark spots or patches on the skin. These scars can vary in size, shape, and intensity, depending on the severity of the eczema flare-up.


Erythema: Erythema, or redness of the skin, is another common type of eczema scar. Persistent inflammation and irritation can cause the skin to appear red or flushed, even after the eczema flare-up has subsided. Erythema scars can be particularly challenging to treat and may require targeted interventions to reduce redness and promote healing.


Atrophic Scars: Atrophic scars, also known as indented or depressed scars, occur when the skin loses underlying tissue and collagen during the healing process. In eczema patients, atrophic scars may develop in areas where the skin has been repeatedly damaged or inflamed. These scars can create a sunken or pitted appearance and may be more challenging to treat than other types of scars.

Hypertrophic Scars: Hypertrophic scars are raised, thickened areas of scar tissue that develop as a result of excessive collagen production during the healing process. While less common in eczema patients compared to other types of scars, hypertrophic scars can still occur, particularly in individuals with a predisposition to keloid formation.

Treatment Options for Eczema Scars

Topical Treatments: Topical treatments such as corticosteroids, retinoids, and hydroquinone can help reduce inflammation, lighten pigmentation, and improve the overall appearance of eczema scars. These medications work by suppressing the inflammatory response, promoting cell turnover, and inhibiting melanin production.

Laser Therapy: Laser therapy is a popular and effective option for treating eczema scars, particularly hyperpigmentation and erythema. Various types of lasers, including fractional lasers, IPL (intense pulsed light), and Q-switched lasers, can target different aspects of scar formation, such as pigment irregularities, blood vessels, and collagen production.

Chemical Peels: Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which exfoliates the outer layer of damaged skin cells and stimulates collagen production. Superficial peels containing ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) can help improve the texture and tone of eczema scars, while deeper peels may be required for more severe scarring.

Microneedling: Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, involves the use of a device with fine needles to create micro-injuries in the skin. This process stimulates the body’s natural healing response, leading to increased collagen production and skin regeneration. Microneedling can be particularly effective for treating atrophic scars and improving overall skin texture.

Scar Revision Surgery: In cases of severe or resistant eczema scars, scar revision surgery may be considered as a last resort. This surgical procedure involves removing the scar tissue and suturing the skin back together to create a smoother, more aesthetically pleasing appearance. While scar revision surgery can produce significant improvements in the appearance of scars, it also carries risks and requires careful consideration.

Preventative Measures and Self-Care Strategies

In addition to seeking professional treatment for eczema scars, there are several preventative measures and self-care strategies that individuals can incorporate into their daily routine to minimize scarring and promote skin health:

Avoid Scratching: Resist the urge to scratch or pick at eczema-affected skin, as this can worsen inflammation and increase the risk of scarring.

Moisturize Regularly: Keep the skin well-hydrated by using gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers and emollients. Moisturizing helps maintain the skin’s natural barrier function and prevents dryness and irritation.

Protect from Sun Exposure: Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Sun exposure can exacerbate pigmentation irregularities and delay the healing of eczema scars.

Follow a Healthy Diet: Eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support skin health and promote healing from within. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can provide essential nutrients for optimal skin function.

Manage Stress: Practice stress-reduction techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises to minimize flare-ups and support overall well-being. Stress can exacerbate eczema symptoms and increase the risk of scarring.


What causes eczema scars?

Eczema scars develop as a result of the body’s inflammatory response to eczema flare-ups. Factors such as scratching, picking, and repeated inflammation can lead to changes in pigmentation and texture, resulting in the formation of scars.

How can I treat eczema scars?

Treatment options for eczema scars include topical treatments, laser therapy, chemical peels, microneedling, and scar revision surgery. These treatments aim to reduce inflammation, lighten pigmentation, and improve skin texture.

Are there any preventative measures for eczema scars?

To minimize the risk of eczema scars, avoid scratching or picking at eczema-affected skin, moisturize regularly, protect the skin from sun exposure, follow a healthy diet, and manage stress through relaxation techniques.

When should I seek professional help for eczema scars?

If eczema scars are causing significant physical or emotional distress, or if home remedies are not providing relief, it is advisable to consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional. They can assess the severity of the scars and recommend appropriate treatment options tailored to your specific needs.

Can eczema scars be completely removed?

While complete removal of eczema scars may not always be possible, various treatment options can help improve their appearance and minimize their visibility. With consistent treatment and proper skincare, many individuals can achieve significant reduction in the appearance of eczema scars over time.


Eczema scars can have a significant impact on both physical appearance and emotional well-being, but with the right treatment approach and self-care strategies, individuals can achieve noticeable improvement in the appearance of their scars. By understanding the causes of eczema scars, identifying the different types of scars, and exploring the various treatment options available, individuals can take proactive steps towards achieving healthier, clearer skin. If you are struggling with eczema scars, consult with a dermatologist or skincare professional to develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and goals.


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